Chapter 17. The East Asian World
Ming inaugurated a period of territorial expansion westward into Central Asia and southward into Vietnam while consolidating control over China’s vast heartland. At the same time, starting in 1405, Admiral Zhenghe (JEHNG-huh) led a series of voyages that spread Chinese influence far into the Indian Ocean. Then, suddenly, after 1433 the voyages were discontinued, and the dynasty turned its attention to domestic concerns (see Chapter 10).
Ming Admiral Zhenge took his fleet FAR into the Indian Ocean.
an itinerant Monk banded leader and eventual Military leader rises to power and defeats the Mongols establishing the Ming and \”Bright\” Dynasty. (1369-1644)
peasant leader who defeated the Mongols and starts Ming Dynasty
China gradually weakened after the death of Khubilai Khan and was finally overthrown in 1368 by a massive peasant rebellion under the leadership of Zhu Yuanzhang (JOO yoo-wen-JAHNG), who had declared himself the founding emperor of a new Ming (Bright) dynasty (1369-1644).
They operated from Macao
Despite the Ming’s retreat from active participation in maritime trade, when the Portuguese arrived in 1514, China was in command of a vast empire that stretched from the steppes of Central Asia to the China Sea, from the Gobi Desert to the tropical rain forests of Southeast Asia.
Indeed, the bellicose and uncultured behavior of the Portu- guese so outraged Chinese officials that they expelled the Europeans, but after further negotiations, the Portuguese were permitted to occupy the tiny territory of Macao (muh- KOW), a foothold they would retain until the end of the twentieth century.
In the 1630s, Li managed to extend the revolt throughout the country, and his forces finally occupied the capital, Beijing, in 1644.
But Li was unable to hold his conquest. The overthrow of the Ming dynasty presented a great temptation to the Manchus.
With the assistance of many military commanders who had deserted from the Ming, the Manchus seized Beijing. Li Zicheng’s army disintegrated, and the Manchus declared a new dynasty: the Qing (Ch’ing, or Pure), which lasted from 1644 until 1911. Once again, China was under foreign rule.
One of the alliances was with the Manchus (man-CHOOZ)—also known as the Jurchen (roor-ZHEN)—the descendants of a people who had briefly established a kingdom in northern China during the early thirteenth century. The Manchus, a mixed agricultural and hunting people, lived northeast of the Great Wall in the area known today as Manchuria (man-CHUR-ee-uh).
At first, the Manchus were satisfied with consolidating their territory.
A major epidemic devastated the chinese population. The suffering brought a vast peasant revolt led by Li Zicheng (Li Tzu-ch’eng) (1604-1651). Li Zicheng (lee zuh- CHENG) was a postal worker in central China who had been dismissed from his job as part of a cost-saving measure by the
The accession of the Manchus to power in Beijing was not universally applauded. Their ruthless policies and insensitivity to Chinese customs soon provoked resistance. Some Ming loyalists fled to Southeast Asia, but others maintained their resistance to the new rulers from inside the country. One especially famous Ming loyalist, popularly known as Koxinga (gok-SHING-uh), took refuge on the island of Taiwan with many of his followers. Qing forces occupied the island in 1683 and incorporated it into the empire.
The Manchus were MORE successful than the Mongols.
The Manchus proved to be more adept at adapting to Chinese conditions than the Mongols. Unlike the latter, who had tried to impose their own methods of ruling, the Manchus adopted the Chinese political system (although, as we shall see, they retained their distinct position within it) and were gradually accepted by most Chinese as the legitimate rulers of the country.
For the Ming dynasty, these strong emperors had been Zhu Yuanzhang and Yongle (YOONG- luh);
under the Qing, they would be Kangxi (K’ang Hsi) and Qianlong (CHAN-loong) (Ch’ien Lung).
To make it easier to identify rebels, the government ordered all Chinese to adopt Manchu dress and hairstyles. All Chinese males were to shave their foreheads and braid their hair into a queue (KYOO); those who refused were to be executed. As a popular saying put it, ”Lose your hair or lose your head.”4
The Manchu hairstyle signified Han submission to Qing rule, and also aided the Manchu identification of those Han who refused to accept Qing dynasty domination.
Still, the Manchus, like the Mongols, were ethnically, linguistically, and culturally different from their subject population. The Qing attempted to cope with this reality by adopting a two-pronged strategy.
One part of this strategy was aimed at protecting their distinct identity within an alien society. The Manchus, representing less than 2 percent of the entire population, were legally defined as distinct from everyone else in China.
The Manchu nobles retained their aristocratic privileges, while their economic base was protected by extensive landholdings and revenues provided from the state treasury.
Other Manchus were assigned farmland and organized into eight military units, called banners, which were stationed as separate units in various strategic positions throughout China.
These ”bannermen” were the primary fighting force of the empire. Ethnic Chinese were prohibited from settling in Manchuria and were still compelled to wear their hair in a queue as a sign of submission to the ruling dynasty.
The greatest ruler in Chinese history. He ascended the throne at the age of seven, and he began to take charge of the Qing administration while he was still an adolescent. He stabilized Imperial rule and he also made the dynasty acceptable to the general population.
Kangxi (r. 1661-1722) was arguably the greatest ruler in Chinese history. Ascending to the throne at the age of seven, he was blessed with diligence, political astuteness, and a strong character and began to take charge of Qing administration while still an adolescent. During the six decades of his reign, Kangxi not only stabilized imperial rule by pacifying the restive peoples along the northern and west- ern frontiers but also managed to make the dynasty accept- able to the general population. As an active patron of arts and letters, he cultivated the support of scholars through a num- ber of major projects.
Activities of westerners (missionaries, dominicans, etc.) reached their height.
Kangxi quite tolerant of religions
Many converted to Christianity
At the same time that the Qing attempted to preserve their identity, they recognized the need to bring ethnic Chinese into the top ranks of imperial administration. Their solution was to create a system, known as dyarchy (DY-ahr- kee), in which all important administrative positions were shared equally by Chinese and Manchus.
Of the six members of the grand secretariat, three were Manchu and three were Chinese. Each of the six ministries had an equal number of Chinese and Manchu members, and Manchus and Chinese also shared responsibilities at the provincial level. Below the provinces, Chinese were dominant. Although the system did not work perfectly, the Manchus’ willingness to share power did win the allegiance of many Chinese.
In 1670, the great emperor Kangxi issued the Sacred Edict to popularize Confucian values among the common people. The edict was read publicly at periodic intervals in every vil- lage in the country and set the standard for behavior throughout the empire. Note the similarities and differences between Kangxi’s edict and the Japanese decree on p. 499
Kangxi’s Sacred Edict
1. Esteem most highly filial piety and brotherly submis- sion, in order to give due importance to the social relations.
2. Behave with generosity toward your kindred, in order to illustrate harmony and benignity.
3. Cultivate peace and concord in your neighborhoods, in order to prevent quarrels and litigations.
4. Recognize the importance of husbandry and the culture of the mulberry tree, in order to ensure a sufficiency of clothing and food.
Give weight to colleges and schools, in order to make
correct the practice of the scholar.
Qing military campaigns along the frontier were expensive and placed heavy demands on the imperial treasury. As the emperor aged, he became less astute in selecting his subordinates and fell under the influence of corrupt elements at court, including the notorious Manchu official Heshen (HEH-shen) (Ho Shen). Funds officially destined for military or other official use were increasingly siphoned off by Heshen or his favorites, arousing resentment among military and civilian officials.
Formal diplomatic relations were finally established in 1689 between Russia and China, when the Treaty of Nerchinsk (ner-CHINSK), negoti- ated with the aid of Jesuit missionaries resident at the Qing court, settled the boundary dispute and provided for regular trade between the two countries.
established the Sino-Russian border
it ended frontier wars and stopped Russia from moving East, and established trade between the two empires. Gave Russians very important status with Qing.
For a while, the British tolerated this system, which brought considerable profit to the East India Company and its shareholders.
In 1793, a mission under Lord Macartney visited Beijing to press for liberalization of trade restrictions. A compromise was reached on the kowtow (Macartney was per- mitted to bend on one knee, as was the British custom), but Qianlong expressed no interest in British manufactured products (see the box on p. 487). An exasperated Macartney compared the Chinese Empire to ”an old, crazy, first-rate man-of-war” that had once awed its neighbors ”merely by her bulk and appear- ance” but was now destined under incompetent leadership to be ”dashed to pieces on the shore.”5
With his contemptuous dismissal of the British request, the emperor had inadvertently sowed the seeds for a century of humiliation.
Unmarried daughters would also remain in the house. Aging parents and grandparents remained under the same roof until they died and were cared for by younger members of the house- hold. This ideal did not always correspond to reality, how- ever, since many families did not possess sufficient land to support a large household. One historian has estimated that only about 40 percent of Chinese families actually lived in joint families.
was a subservient one, as a woman could even be divorced for not bearing sons.
sometimes resulted in the killing of girls if their family lacked food.
Gold Vase Plum, known in English translation as The Golden Lotus, presents a cutting expose ́ of the decadent aspects of late Ming society. Considered by many the first realistic social novel—preceding its European counterparts by two centu- ries—The Golden Lotus depicts the depraved life of a wealthy landlord who cruelly manipulates those around him for sex, money, and power. In a rare exception in Chinese fiction, the villain is not punished for his evil ways; justice is served instead by the misfortunes that befall his descendants.
The Dream of the Red Chamber is generally considered China’s most distinguished popular novel.
Published in 1791, some 150 years after The Golden Lotus, it tells of the tragic love of two young people caught in the financial and moral disintegration of a powerful Chinese clan. The hero and the heroine, both sensitive and spoiled, represent the inevitable decline of the Chia family and come to an equally inevitable tragic end, she in death and he in an unhappy marriage to another.
The Imperial City in Beijing. During the fifteenth century, the Ming dynasty erected an immense imperial city on the remnants of the palace of Khubilai Khan in Beijing. Surrounded by 61⁄2 miles of walls, the enclosed compound is divided into a maze of private apartments and offices; it also includes an imposing ceremonial quadrangle with stately halls for imperial audiences and banquets.
Because it was off-limits to commoners, the compound was known as the Forbidden City. The fearsome lion shown in the inset, representing the omnipotence of the Chinese Empire, guards the entrance to the private apartments of the palace.
Ming porcelain was desired throughout the world for its delicate blue-and-white floral decorations. The blue coloring was produced with cobalt that had originally been brought from the Middle East along the Silk Road and was known in China as ”Mohammedan blue.” In the early seventeenth century, the first Ming porcelain arrived in the Netherlands, where it was called kraak because it had been loaded on two Portuguese ships known as carracks seized by the Dutch fleet. It took Dutch artisans more than a century to learn how to produce a porcelain as fine as the examples brought from China.
In 1568, Oda Nobunaga (OH-dah noh- buh-NAH-guh), the son of a samurai (SAM-uh-ry) and a military commander under the Ashikaga shogunate, seized the imperial capital of Kyoto and placed the reigning shogun under his domination. During the next few years, the brutal and ambitious Nobunaga attempted to consolidate his rule throughout the central plains by defeating his rivals and suppressing the power of the Buddhist estates, but he was killed by one of his generals in 1582 before the process was complete.
one of three unifiers
was a farmer
increased the area he controlled
BUT DID NOT gain control of Korea
Expelled missionaries from Japan because they interfered with local Japanese political matters.
Oda Nobunaga was succeeded by Toyotomi Hideyoshi (toh-yoh- TOH-mee hee-day-YOH-shee), a farmer’s son who had worked his way up through the ranks to become a military commander. Originally lacking a family name of his own, he eventually adopted the name Toyotomi (”abundant provider”) to embellish his reputation for improving the material standards of his domain. Hide- yoshi located his capital at Osaka (oh-SAH-kuh), where he built a castle to accommodate his headquar- ters, and gradually extended his power outward to the southern islands of Shikoku (shee-KOH-koo) and Kyushu (KYOO-shoo) (see Map 17.3). By 1590, he had persuaded most of the daimyo on the Japanese islands to accept his authority and created a national currency. Then he invaded Korea in an abortive effort to export his rule to the Asian mainland (see ”Korea: In a Dangerous Neighborhood” later in this chapter).
Despite their efforts, however, neither Nobunaga nor Hideyoshi was able to eliminate the power of the local daimyo. Both were compelled to form alliances with some daimyo in order to destroy other more powerful rivals. At the conclusion of his conquests in 1590, Toyotomi Hideyoshi could claim to be the supreme proprie- tor of all registered lands in areas under his authority
The daimyo in turn began to pacify the countryside, carrying out extensive ”sword hunts” to disarm the population and attracting samurai to their ser- vice. The Japanese tradition of decentralized rule had not yet been overcome.
After Hideyoshi’s death in 1598, Tokugawa Ieyasu (toh- koo-GAH-wah ee-yeh-YAH-soo), the powerful daimyo of Edo (EH-doh)—modern Tokyo—moved to fill the vacuum. Neither Hideyoshi nor Oda Nobunaga had claimed the title of shogun (SHOH-gun), but Ieyasu named himself shogun in 1603, initiating the most powerful and long-lasting of all Japanese shogunates.
The Tokugawa rulers completed the restoration of central authority begun by Nobunaga and Hideyoshi and remained in power until 1868, when a war dis- mantled the entire system. As a contemporary phrased it, ”Oda pounds the national rice cake, Hideyoshi kneads it, and in the end Ieyasu sits down and eats it.”8
The unification of Japan took place almost simultaneously with the coming of the Europeans. Portuguese traders sailing in a Chinese junk that may have been blown off course by a typhoon had landed on the islands in 1543.
compelling the daimyo to maintain two residences, one in their own domain and one in Edo.
Portuguese were the first European traders who brought firearms to Japan.
Initially, the visitors were welcomed. The curious Japanese (the Japanese were ”very desirous of knowledge,” said Francis Xavier) were fascinated by tobacco, clocks, spectacles, and other European goods, and local daimyo were interested in purchas- ing all types of European weapons and armaments (see the box on p. 495). Oda Nobunaga and Toyo- tomi Hideyoshi found the new firearms helpful in defeating their enemies and unifying the islands. The effect on Japanese military architecture was par- ticularly striking as local lords began to erect castles on the European model. Many of these castles, such as Hideyoshi’s castle at Osaka, still exist today.
Missionaries added to the problem
by deliberately destroying local idols and shrines and turning some temples into Christian schools or churches.
Inevitably, the local authorities reacted. In 1587, Toyotomi Hideyoshi issued an edict pro- hibiting further Christian activities within his domains. Japan, he declared, was ”the land of the Gods,” and the destruction of shrines by the foreigners was ”something unheard of in previ- ous ages.” To ”corrupt and stir up the lower classes” to commit such sacrileges, he declared, was ”outrageous.”9 The parties re- sponsible (the Jesuits) were ordered to leave the country within twenty days. Hideyoshi was careful to distinguish missionary from trading activities, however, and merchants were permitted to continue their operations (see the box on p. 496).
the imperial capital of Kyoto
the bakufu (buh- KOO-foo or bah-KOO-fuh)—the central government— sought to restrict the ability of local authorities to carry out commercial transactions with foreign merchants.
Once in power, the Tokugawa attempted to strengthen the system that had governed Japan for more than three hundred years. They followed precedent in ruling through the bakufu, composed now of a coalition of daimyo, and a council of eld- ers. But the system was more centralized than it had been previously. Now the shogunate government played a dual role. It set national policy on behalf of the emperor in Kyoto while simultaneously governing the shogun’s own domain, which included about one-quarter of the national territory as well as the three great cities of Edo, Kyoto, and Osaka.
In theory, the daimyo were essentially autonomous, since they were able to support them- selves from taxes on their lands (the shogunate received its own revenues from its extensive landholdings)
Others were released from servitude to their lord and became ”masterless samurai.” Occasionally, these unemployed warriors—known as ronin (ROH-nihn), or ”wave men”—revolted or plotted against the local authorities.
In one episode, made famous in song and story as ”The Forty-Seven Ronin,” the masterless samurai of a local lord who had been forced to commit suicide by a shogunate official later assassinated the official in revenge. Although their act received wide popular acclaim, the ronin were later forced to take their own lives.
Still, gender relations were more egalitarian than among the nobility. Women were generally valued as childbearers and homemakers, and both sexes worked in the fields.
Coeducational schools were established in villages and market towns, and about one-quarter of the students were female.
Poor families, however, often put infant daughters to death or sold them into prostitution and the ”floating world” of entertainment.
During the late Tokugawa era, peasant women became more outspoken and active in social protests and in some cases played a major role in provoking demonstrations against government exactions or exploitation by landlords or merchants.
Such attitudes toward women operated within the context of the increasingly rigid stratification of Japanese society. Deeply conservative in their social policies, the Tokugawa rulers established strict legal distinctions between the four main classes in Japan (warriors, artisans, peasants, and mer- chants). Intermarriage between classes was forbidden in theory, although sometimes the prohibitions were ignored in practice.
five women ready to die for sexual ecstasy.
Although Japan was isolated from the Western world dur- ing much of the Tokugawa era, Japanese art was enriched by ideas from other cultures. Japanese pottery makers borrowed both techniques and designs from Korea to produce handsome ceramics. The passion for ”Dutch learning” inspired Japanese to study Western medicine, astronomy, and languages and also led to experimentation with oil painting and Western ideas of perspective and the interplay of light and dark. Some painters depicted the ”southern barbarians,” with their strange ships and costumes, large noses, and plumed hats. Europeans desired Japanese lacquerware and metal- work, inlaid with ivory and mother-of-pearl, and especially the ceramics, which were now as highly prized as those of the Chinese.
\”Dutch learning\”, and by extension \”Western learning\”) is a body of knowledge developed by Japan through its contacts with the Dutch enclave of Dejima, which allowed Japan to keep abreast of Western technology and medicine in the period when the country was closed to foreigners, 1641-1853, because of the Tokugawa shogunate’s policy of national isolation (sakoku).
was intrigued by the search for the meaning of existence.
In contrast to the popular literature of the Tokugawa period, poetry persevered in its more serious tradition. Although linked verse, so popular in the fourteenth and fif- teenth centuries, found a more lighthearted expression in the sixteenth century, the most exquisite poetry was produced in the seventeenth century by the greatest of all Japanese poets, Basho (BAH-shoh) (1644-1694).
One of the most renowned of the numerous block-print artists was Utamaro (OO-tah-mah-roh) (1754-1806), who painted erotic and sardonic women in everyday poses, such as walking down the street, cooking, or drying their bodies af- ter a bath. Hokusai (HOH-kuh-sy) (1760-1849) was famous for Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji, a new and bold interpreta- tion of the Japanese landscape. Finally, Ando Hiroshige (AHN-doh hee-roh-SHEE-gay) (1797-1858) developed the genre of the travelogue print in his Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido Road, which presented ordinary scenes of daily life, both in the country and in the cities, all enveloped in a lyrical, quiet mood.
This is the nickname given to the country of Korea because of their isolationists attitude.
developed a phonetic alphabet for writing the spoken Korean language in the 1400s.
As in Japan, the dynasty continued to restrict entry into the bureaucracy to members of the aristocratic class, known in Korea as the yangban (YAHNG-ban) (or ”two groups,” civilian and military). At the same time, the peasantry remained in serflike conditions, working on government estates or on the manor holdings of the landed elite.
some aristocratic yangban became merchants, or even peasants, over time.
it avoided losing territory to European colonial powers.
its population became increasingly diverse.
civil war split the Dai Viet into two squabbling territories.
its population DID NOT remain homogeneous.
Better going conditions (climate improved)
People developed Immunities against epidemic diseases
Introduction of new foods (columbian exchange)
New weapons allowed more territory to be controlled and kept in order.
Between 1700 and 1800, Europe, China, and to a
lesser degree India and the Ottoman Empire experienced a dramatic growth in population. In Europe, the population grew from 120 million people to almost 200 million by 1800; in China, from less than 200 million to more than 300 million during the same period.
In China, population grew fast during the 1600-1800 period, reaching over 300,000,000 by 1800. The reasons included:
Relative peace and stability had prevailed during the early years of Qing rule.
New crops had been introduced from the New World.
Introduction of the development of faster growing Southeast Asian rice into China.
The political stability of China in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Moreover, the population was beginning to increase rap- idly. For centuries, China’s population had remained within a range of 50 to 100 million, rising in times of peace and pros- perity and falling in periods of foreign invasion and internal anarchy. During the Ming and the early Qing, however, the population increased from an estimated 70 to 80 million in 1390 to more than 300 million at the end of the eighteenth century. There were probably several reasons for this popula- tion increase: the relatively long period of peace and stability under the early Qing; the introduction of new crops from the Americas, including peanuts, sweet potatoes, and maize; and the planting of a new species of faster-growing rice from Southeast Asia (see the comparative essay ”Population Explo- sion” on p. 488).
Between 1700 and 1800, Europe, China, and to a
lesser degree India and the Ottoman Empire EARTH & experienced a dramatic growth in population. In ENVIRONMENT Europe, the population grew from 120 million
people to almost 200 million by 1800; in China, from less than 200 million to more than 300 million during the same period.